The Education of Little Tree

“The Education of Little Tree” is a novel authored by Asa Earl Carter. However, it is essential to note that the author used a pen name Forrest Carter in the book. The book represents a memoir style novel that recounts the life of the author as a young kid through adulthood. The book commences with the death of the author’s parents, which forces him to be catered by his grandparents. He is forced to change environments and recounts the things that he saw on the way to his grandparents’ home. The grandparents play an instrumental role in nurturing the young boy until their untimely death, whereby, a close friend to his grandparents takes care of the boy. From the novel we note that the grandparents were instrumental in teaching the boy myriad things such as mountain life, independence, love, society, nature, making whiskey, and farming. The boy, referred throughout the story as the “Little Tree”, encounters a lot in his life as he meets with politicians, Christians, and city “slickers”. At some point “Little Tree” is forced to join a residential school by the state where he experiences ignorance and prejudice, but he is rescued from the experience by his grandpa’s friend, christened John Willow. The story concludes with the deaths of “Little Tree’s” grandparents and John Willow, which forces him to move to the west and work for his sustenance. Thus, this essay provides a book report of the novel “The Education of Little Tree.”

Notably, the book is inspiring as it educates a reader concerning the different turns of life. For instance, the novel commences by reporting how “Little Tree” is forced to migrate to a new region because of the death of his parents. This poses a new challenge to the boy, which he eventually overcomes, as he gets adapted to the new life with the help of his grandparents. Another inspiring act is evident with how John Willow is concerned about “Little Tree’s” unhappiness while attending the residential school. He is forced to do anything under his capability to ensure “Little Tree” pulls out of school. However, the book takes a different twist at the end as the boy’s guardians die from natural causes. The inspiring bit is that the grandparents had trained “Little Tree” on how to be independent, thus, the boy worked for his sustenance.

The novel’s flow of ideas and themes indicate how perfectly the book was authored. In the novel, there is a smooth transition of events from the time “Little Tree” becomes orphaned to how his grandparents take care of him and teach him different things concerning mountain life. “Little Tree’s” character is immensely influenced by his grandparents, who taught him myriad things such as making whiskey, love, society, and farming. Thus, this contributes to the themes in the book.

In the novel, “Little Tree” and his grandparents play a significant role that relates to the overall theme. This is because the story commences with the death of “Little Tree’s” parents, thus, grandparents are forced to take up the responsibility of raising the boy. They teach the boy several things, which are also significant to the overall theme of the book. John Willow is also an essential character in the formation of the overall theme of the novel. This is so as he becomes concerned with the welfare of “Little Tree” and ensures that the boy pulls out of the residential school, which was contributing to his unhappiness because of prejudice and ignorance of other students.

There are several reoccurring symbols in the book. From the novel, a reader cannot fail to notice many deaths occurring. Firstly, it was the death of “Little Tree’s” parents, which forced the boy to seek refuge at his grandparents’ home. This was followed by the deaths of John Willow and “Little Tree’s” grandpa, and eventually the boy’s grandma followed suit. Before the end of the story, “Little Tree’s” last companion, which was a hound, also dies. These several deaths symbolize life’s destiny. The deaths also indicate how challenging life becomes when those people that we are closely attached to desert our lives suddenly.

However, it should be noted that the book had an obvious slant regarding the occurrences in the plot. Most unpleasant stuff that took place in the plot had a direct effect on the boy, and these include the deaths of “Little Tree’s” parents, grandparents, and his hound. From the novel, it is only “Little Tree” again who suffers from prejudice and ignorance after he was forced to attend a residential school by the state.

In conclusion, the book presents a good ending for fiction as events speed up dramatically, while, at the same time, there is a decrease of detail. This abounds with the deaths of the boy’s grandparents and John Willow. In addition, “Little Tree’s” last companion, a hound inherited from his grandpa, also dies and the boy is left alone working for sustenance and shelter. However, the innocence of the fictional memoir is questionable with a publication that linked the author with the Ku Klux Klan. The publication “The Transformation of a Klansman [sic]”, which was authored by Dan Carter brought a lot of controversy regarding the validity of the fictional memoir by Asa Earl Carter. Overall, the novel is worthy reading because it presents a reader with life’s challenges and teaches people that hard work is the means to the end basing on the life “Little Tree” led.

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